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Immigration agency expands family detention facilities

The San Antonio Express reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently extended the contract at the South Texas Family Residential Camp in Dilley, Texas until 2021.

The detention center in Dilley, which is run by Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), is used to detain Central American mothers and children who are seeking asylum.

This comes as the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, is reviewing whether they should follow the Department of Justice's decision to phase out the use of private prison corporations. "I don’t know what they’re thinking, to be honest with you,” Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program for the Women’s Refugee Commission, said of ICE’s renewal of the Dilley contract.

The new contract, though for the facility in Texas, is actually passed through an existing contract with the city of Eloy, Arizona.  The U.S. government will pay about $13 million a month for the facility in Dilley, which is about half of the previous payment.

ICE has also said that they are reviewing proposals for an additional 2,500 family detention beds at various sites. GEO Group, the private prison company that runs the Karnes County family detention center, said that they will propose taking a portion of the new beds that ICE are seeking.

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Private prison stocks surge after Trump election

The stocks of two private detention companies have soared following the election of Donald Trump, reported Bloomberg Markets.

Stocks in CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) rose by as much as 60 percent before leveling off at a 34 percent increase. GEO Group saw an increase of 18 percent in their stock at the time same time. These two companies are seen to benefit from Trump's presidency, as he has vowed to increase the number of deportations, which will lead to the need for more immigrant detention centers. These are often run by private companies such as CoreCivic and GEO Group.

The announcement and following increase of stocks helped turn around some of the losses both companies had experienced following the announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ)  that they would begin to phase out the use of private prisons. The president-elect is most likely to reverse the policy of the DOJ to no longer use private prisons.

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New identity doesn't address core of Corrections Corporations challenges

Private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has decided to rebrand itself in hope of moving away from the perception of for-profit prison company, as reported by The Street. The company would now like to be called CoreCivic.

Stock in CCA has been under pressure ever since the Department of Justice decided to phase out the use of private prisons in August. The company is hoping that the new name and diversifying their interests into real estate and treatment facilities will help the company move away from it’s negative image as a private prison company and help the company bounce back from decades of bad press.

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ICE Renews Private Contract to Run Largest Family Detention Center

According to Huffington Post, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revised and renewed its' contract with a private company to keep operating the country's largest family detention center. 

ICE renewed the contract with Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) to run the South Texas Family Residential Center for another five years. The contract renewal comes after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced they would phase out their use of private prisons. While this announcement did not affect immigrant detention centers, such as the South Texas Family Residential Center, it did cause the Department of Homeland Security to review whether ICE should follow through with the DOJ decision to phase out using private prison companies. 

Under the renewed contract CCA will receive less money to run the facility. However, CCA will receive payment regardless of how many beds are filled at their facility. The contract is scheduled to last until September of 2021, but ICE does have the option to cancel it with 60 days' notice.  

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CCA to cut costs amid criticisms

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is set to lay off staff and cut costs as criticism of private prisons continue, reported MarketWatch

On Tuesday, CCA announced a plan to cut costs at their headquarters, while Chief Executive Damon Hininger said he would forfeit $2 million worth of restricted stock that he received in February. He then went on to request the company not reward him any equity-based compensation in 2017. 

CCA shares were falling steadily in after-hours trading and shares have fallen more than 45% since the Dept. of Justice announced they would no longer be using private prisons.

CCA to cut costs amid criticisms

Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is set to lay off staff and cut costs as criticism of private prisons continue, according to MarketWatch.

On Tuesday, CCA announced a plan to cut costs at their headquarters in Tennessee, while Chief Executive Damon Hininger said he would forfeit $2 million worth of restricted stock that he received in February. He told the company not reward him any equity-based compensation in 2017.

CCA shares were falling steadily in after-hours trading and shares have fallen more than 45% since the Dept. of Justice announced they would no longer be using private prisons in August.

The Brownsville Herald supports DHS review of private prisons

A Texas newspaper has come out in support of the Dept. of Homeland Security's (DHS) review of private prison contracts. The Brownsville Herald came out to say that they had called on Secretary Johnson and the DHS to review their private prison contracts, much like the Dept. of Justice did. The newspaper continued by saying: 

"We applaud Secretary Johnson for recognizing that failures in for-profit run prison facilities could also extend to for-profit immigration detention facilities, such as the large holding facilities in South Texas in Dilley and Karnes City.

We encourage the Homeland Security Advisory Council to investigate thoroughly all for-profit facilities operated under Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure they meet humanitarian standards and U.S. detention facility protocol. Charges by former immigrant detainees and numerous immigration advocacy groups that immigrant mothers in these for-profit facilities are denied access to their children, put in isolation, denied medical care or psychological help are disturbing and should not be condoned."

The paper then went on to invite the members Homeland Security Advisory Board, who will review private prison facilities and their contracts, to come to Texas to visit in person the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City run by the GEO Group.

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The McAllen Monitor supports DHS review of private prisons

A Texas newspaper’s editorial board has come out in support of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) review of private prison contracts. The McAllen Monitor Editorial Board has previously called on DHS Secretary Johnson and the DHS to review their private prison contracts.

The editorial board also asked DHS to do more, saying:

We applaud Secretary Johnson for recognizing that failures in for-profit run prison facilities could also extend to for-profit immigration detention facilities, such as the large holding facilities in South Texas in Dilley and Karnes City.

We encourage the Homeland Security Advisory Council to investigate thoroughly all for-profit facilities operated under Immigration and Customs Enforcement to ensure they meet humanitarian standards and U.S.. detention facility protocol. Charges by former immigrant detainees and numerous immigration advocacy groups that immigrant mothers in these for-profit facilities are denied access to their children, put in isolation, denied medical care or psychological help are disturbing and should not be condoned.


The paper urged members Homeland Security Advisory Board, who will conduct the review, to come to Texas to visit in person the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America, and the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City run by the GEO Group.

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Shares in private prisons drop after DHS announces review

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will evaluate whether the agency should continue contracting with private corporations to run their immigrant detention facilities. According to Fortune, shares in both Corrections Corporations of America (CCA) and GEO Group both dropped after the announcement.

The evaluation of privately-run prisons comes following the Department of Justice's decision to phase out their use of private prisons. Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Sen. Raul Grijalva asked DHS in a letter earlier this week to end the practice of contracting with private-prison companies.

Texas communities brace for private prison elimination

The Dept. of Justic's (DOJ) announcement to phase out private prisons has left communities in Texas, including Eden and Big Spring, worried about how it will impact their communities, reported the Standard-Times

Though the closure of the detention center would affect Eden the most, many employees at the detention center commute from surrounding areas. According to the Big Spring Economic Development page, the Big Spring Correctional Center employs about 550 people, thought it is not clear if they are commuters or live in Big Spring. 

The DOJ announcement said that privately run prisons "compare poorly" to government-run institutions. 

The Eden Detention Center has had several riots during its time of operation, including a protest over treatment of inmates in July. The Big Spring facility had a riot during 2008, which caused around $1 million in damagaes, and also unrest in 2011, when inmates attacked staff. 

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